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Purdue professor receives South Korea's highest research honor

Purdue professor receives South Korea's highest research honor

Magazine Section: Our People, Our Culture
College or School: CoE
Article Type: Article
Purdue University distinguished professor Sangtae Kim has received the 2013 Ho-Am Engineering Prize from South Korea, the highest engineering research award issued by that nation.
Sangtae Kim

Kim, distinguished professor of mechanical and chemical engineering, currently is on leave from Purdue. He is a visiting professor of chemical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a faculty member from 1983-1997, becoming a distinguished professor and department chair.

The award includes a prize of about $265,000, a gold medal and a laureate diploma and is issued in five categories: science, engineering, medicine, the arts and community service

"This recognition is a testament to Dr. Kim's outstanding accomplishments," said Arvind Varma, R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Jay and Cynthia Ihlenfeld Head of Purdue's School of Chemical Engineering. "He has been an influential scholar in the field of chemical engineering for the past three decades and has had tremendous impact. The honor also speaks highly of Purdue research."

Kim, a Korean-American, was born in Seoul. His family immigrated to Canada when he was 7.

He is founder and chairman of ProWD Sciences Inc., a Wisconsin drug-discovery and drug-development company, and he is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He came to Purdue in 2003 from Eli Lilly and Co. in Indianapolis, where he was the Lilly Research Laboratories' vice president and information officer in research and development. Before that he was vice president for scientific information resources at Pfizer Global Research and Development, a division of Pfizer Inc. He joined Lilly in 2000 from Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research. In 2008 he was named executive director of the Morgridge Institute for Research at the UW-Madison. He served as inaugural director of the National Science Foundation's Shared Cyberinfrastructure Division from 2004-2005.

Kim's research has included work in mathematical and computational methods for "microhydrodynamics." The work involves using powerful computers and mathematical methods to learn how proteins interact with other "microstructures" inside cells and to design electronic devices that may "self-assemble," similar to the growth of structures in living organisms. In self-assembly, devices might eventually be fabricated using techniques based on chemical attractions, rather than the complex and expensive processes now used.

While a faculty member of the University of Wisconsin, Kim led research programs funded by NSF and the Office of Naval Research. His research has included the use of numerous computers linked together to perform "massively parallel processing" to discover new drugs and development of a new class of radio-frequency identification devices by creating manufacturing processes that operate at the scale of nanometers, or billionths of a meter. He continued this research at Purdue.

He holds bachelor's and master's degrees from the California Institute of Technology and a doctorate from Princeton University. His research has been featured in more than 70 publications, including journal papers, proceedings, books, and a patent. His book "Microhydrodynamics: Principles & Selected Applications" was published in 1991.